Supporting Small Business Members in the Age of COVID-19

 

Gallup recently conducted a study that surveyed 3.2 million credit union members across the nation in order to learn how they have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and understand what kind of support members need the most. 

 

The analytics firm found that credit union members are suffering more than the average American. According to Gallup, 76% of credit union members have experienced a great deal or fair amount of disruption in their financial wellbeing compared to the national average of 70%. 

 

In any hardship, what do humans need the most? Support. Credit union members are seeking a higher level of support for their financial wellbeing from their credit unions in this volatile time. This is especially true for credit union members who are small business owners, many of whom a few weeks ago were looking to their credit unions for answers about the SBA Payment Protection Program. 

 

In a recent article in the Credit Union Times, Roberto Gladu, AVP of Business Services for the $2.7 billion Canvas Credit Union in Colorado shared an empathetic message to its 4,000 small business owners looking for guidance. He said: “I want you to know we understand the frustration you and the other business members in our community are experiencing, both in keeping your businesses operational and finding answers regarding the PPP loan.” Gladu’s statement shows that credit unions recognize the extra support small business owners need at this time. 

 

Members’ three financial wellbeing needs 

 

In the Gallup survey, participants were asked the question, “In what way can your credit union support you and your family during this situation?”. Members responded with the following three ways:

  1. Increase my peace of mind. Provide me with the relief I need to get through this crisis.
  2. Build my hope. Continually be there for me through guidance and solutions.
  3. Reduce my unnecessary stress. Make it easy for me to access staff and tools when and how I need them.

 

But, with brick-and-mortars closed and hiring at a halt, how can credit unions serve members’ three financial wellbeing needs?

 

Credit unions have always differentiated themselves from banks as being a trusted partner to members, but it’s time to double down. They should consider investing in a fintech infrastructure to improve the advantage of the credit union-member relationship and raise the bar on customer responsiveness. 

 

Terry Badger, CFA, managing editor at BAI confirms this. “Banks and credit unions nationwide closed main and branch offices, and abruptly shifted tens of thousands of employees to do their jobs from their dens and dining tables. Work normally done face-to-face now depends on technology.” 

 

Using technology to fill the gaps and provide next-level support 

 

As banks struggle to support customer applications, the SBA Payment Protection Program provides a backdrop for credit unions to further differentiate themselves and provide white-glove service to their members. 

 

Adopting a fintech infrastructure that automates document-driven processes, like the SBA PPP, gives lenders the ability to process a high volume of applications quickly and accurately. This takes a level of operational flexibility that is difficult to achieve without the right partner. 

 

At Ocrolus, we’ve seen this materialize at hyper-speed. Our current customers – fintechs, banks, and other lenders – have been able to use transparent technology to build completely new processes for the SBA Payment Protection Program in a matter of days. In fact, just in the last month, we have helped a handful of progressive lenders document over 270,000 loan applications. 

 

Learn more about how our turnkey solution for SBA Payment Protection Program applications can help you serve the financial wellbeing of small business members.

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